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I’ve had a good run, but it looks like the coronavirus will bring that to an end.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m healthier than most. In fact, that’s what the paramedic told me in the back of the ambulance just the other day.

“You’re healthier than most of the people we see,” he said.

I expected him to add, “Much better than that headless corpse we picked up on Saturday.”

Instead, he and his partner continued to poke and ask me questions about different maladies, to which my answer was a hard no.

I wasn’t in the back of an ambulance for coronavirus. I was there because I went to my primary-care doctor for some continuing chest and back discomfort I hoped was related to an incident a couple of months ago when I was replacing a ceiling fan and the old one fell unexpectedly and nearly jerked my left arm out of its socket.

But heart problems run in the family, so I figured I would let a trained professional take a look rather than rely on Dr. Internet, who can be a bit of a quack.

It turns out my blood pressure was so high in the doc’s office he was afraid I was going to explode and ruin some expensive equipment. He called an ambulance to get me out of there as quickly as possible so he wouldn’t have to repaint the walls.

The paramedics continued with questions.

“Do you see spots?”


“Abdominal pain?”


“Shortness of breath?”


I was waiting for one of them to get around to, “Are you a newspaper editor who has been without a third of his reporting staff for the last four months, worked six to seven days a week during that time and lost two weeks of vacation in the process?”

They didn’t get to that one.

The upshot is, after an ambulance ride and a series of tests I will be paying on for the next five years, my ticker is fine and the miracle of modern medicine should keep me from exploding for a while.

The doc at the hospital said I am as healthy as a horse and have the strength of 10 men. He didn’t say those exact words, but that was my take-way from the entire experience.

And then coronavirus.

When I read about some of the ways to keep from getting it — it’s nearly impossible to avoid reading or hearing about how not to get it — I said “no problem.”

Wash your hands? Been doing it for years.

Avoid people? I can entertain myself.

Don’t touch your face? Uh, do what now?

At that moment I realized I was a chronic face toucher.

When I ponder a deep philosophical matter, something along the lines of man’s inhumanity to man or whether to get a large or small order of hash rounds with a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit, I say “Hmm” and rub my chin.

When I concoct an evil plan aimed at world domination, I twirl my mustache and laugh maniacally. No evil plan aimed at world domination would ever work without mustache twirling and maniacal laughter.

When I remember I’m a newspaper editor who has been without a third of his reporting staff for the last four months, worked six to seven days a week during that time and lost two weeks of vacation in the process, I bury my face in my hands.

Burying one’s face in one’s hands is a sure ticket to coronavirus, according to Dr. Internet. I’m sure those nice paramedics with all the questions and that doctor who says I have the strength of 10 men would concur.

So, in closing, it’s been a good run. As I look back on it all, I’m glad I went with the large order of hash rounds.

Scott Hollifield is editor/GM of The McDowell News in Marion and a humor columnist. Contact him at rhollifeld@mcdowellnews.com

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